The Mirror News

Local Landcare licensed to drive dollars further

THANKS to a fundraising initiative from the South Gippsland Landcare Network, Victorians can now show their support for Landcare by selecting special Landcare number plates for their vehicles.

Last Wednesday at Waratah Lodge outside Fish Creek, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith launched the nation’s first Landcare number plates.

“This is an innovative and fun way for Victorians to show their support for Landcare,” Mr Smith said of the plates, which have a distinctive Landcare look with green lettering and Landcare’s iconic hands.

“Driving around with Landcare number plates is a great way for people to fly the flag for this iconic grassroots movement.”

Profit from sales of the plates is ploughed back into the local Landcare network – and you don’t have to be a Landcare member to purchase a set of plates.

Each Landcare number plate carries the slogan “Supporting Landcare” and motorists can choose a number between 001-LC and 100-LC depending on availability. Twenty or so plates have been snapped up already. The minister expressed keen interest in plate number 007!

“Out of Landcare’s thriving community of more than 60,000 members across Victoria, the South Gippsland Landcare Network was the first to come up with this great idea and turn it into a reality,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s this kind of creative thinking, hard work and spirit that has kept Landcare thriving for a quarter of a century and it gives me great confidence that the movement is in good hands.”

Mr Smith congratulated South Gippsland Landcare Network Facilitator Belinda Brennan for helping to develop the number plates.

Ms Brennan has been the driving force for the last two years behind the number plate project, which was the brainchild of SGLN board member Damon Stynes.

At the launch, board chair Mark Uren paid tribute to Ms Brennan and Mr Stynes.

He said that it had only been through the persistence of Ms Brennan that Mr Stynes’ idea had become a reality, admitting he was initially sceptical. “It has taken two years and one month to get to production of the plates and Belinda has had to push it every step of the way.”

Permission to undertake the project, Mr Uren said, was required from five different organisations – VicRoads, Landcare Australia, the Victorian Landcare Council, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) who have ownership of the logo, and the Farm Tree and Landcare Association – but VicRoads would only deal with one organisation.

A cash injection of $5000 from Landcare Australia towards the $20,000 required to produce the first 100 sets of plates helped enormously. CEO of Landcare Australia, Heather Campbell, was at last Wednesday’s launch and expressed her admiration for the novel project.

Ryan Smith said that he had met many Landcare groups in his travels around the state and was proud to be able to deliver money for Landcare projects.

“The amount of work they do and the amount of passion out there is extraordinary. We should be supporting their invaluable work,” he said. “All credit to anyone involved in Landcare!”

He urged support for the Landcare number plate project. “This is a great idea. It’s people thinking outside the box to come up with a fund raiser. Congratulations to all involved.”

The launch wound up with a delicious light lunch provided by the staff of Waratah Lodge, while guests enjoyed the stunning view over Waratah Bay and Diana Rees’ fine piano playing.

The Landcare number plates are available to all licensed motorists via the South Gippsland Landcare Network, with full details available at the website www.sgln.org.au.

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